For Sanam Sindhi, someone likely better known by her Instagram handle @trustmedaddy, the web and its apps have shaped the course of her entire adult life. Over lunch and a little recreational, finally legal green, the New York to LA transplant goes into the details.
“I don’t smoke other people’s weed. I also don’t smoke weed during the day,” Sindhi says, but for CR she’ll make an exception. She prefers vape pens like TSTY Farms, which she deems “not as cute as holding a joint.”
“Tuesdays and Saturdays are my big weed days,” she explains. “Sunday is a chill day for me, so I can smoke a shit ton of weed on a Saturday night. I know I have a whole day to recover. I know Wednesday is a chill day at the office, so I can smoke a little bit of weed on a Tuesday before I go to bed.”
Sindhi, now 26, first came into the public eye when she was Insta-scouted by Rihanna to co-star in the bad gal’s controversial music video for “Bitch Better Have My Money.” The subsequent Instagram fame led to a gaggle of side hustles (including a radio show on NTS, DJ gigs, casting, and modeling,) and it has even led to the manifestation of Sindhi’s first “big girl” office job at Jeffrey Campbell, where she is tasked with re-crafting the brand’s image through media relations and creative direction. It’s a job Sindhi, who dropped out of high school at 17, wouldn’t likely have without her following.
Her trajectory is a sign of a very specific time. “In Instagram culture, you have to be doing five million things,” she says. “How do you even survive doing one job? It’s not viable in 2018; no one pays you enough to make ends meet. But there’s so much more space now to pursue the things you want to do. I couldn’t do any of the things I’m doing without my visibility on the internet. And I couldn’t have done this 10 years ago.”
This work set up is just a little bit different from the one she imagined for herself as a little girl. “The first thing I remember wanting to be was a stripper,” Sindhi says. “I don’t even know where I learned about sex work in general, but I’ve been a pretty hyper-sexual person since I was a kid.” These aspirations of stripping, according to Sindhi, had nothing to do with adult examples around her—she says there weren’t any.
“I always held sex workers in a very high regard,” she says. “I understood that these are people that deserve respect. It’s not that fucking hard to respect women, and it’s not that fucking hard to respect sex workers.”
Sindhi also grappled with her role as a more public figure and whether or not that dictated any sort of responsibility to impart some knowledge. “It’s hard for me to be around people who need to be taught to respect women,” she says. “It’s not my fucking responsibility to teach people how to be better at life,” she says.”
Unsurprisingly, by adolescence this sexual curiosity landed Sindhi in AOL chatrooms, in which questions like “A/S/L?” and “Wanna cyber?” were de rigueur. Sindhi even met her now ex-husband on MySpace—she was 18-years-old when they married, and he was 30. Her experimentation with drugs came at an even earlier age.
“I’ve been smoking since I was 14,” she says. “It always gave me mad anxiety and made me super nauseous. When I lived in Seattle I started smoking weed again and I was like, ‘Oh shit, I love weed!’ Because I wasn’t smoking mids and street weed anymore. It was hella good.”
Prior to the fame, Sindhi had seen tougher times, frequently staying up all night when she couldn’t find a place to crash, knowing full well how dangerous and out of the question it would be to sleep at a bus stop. “People don’t realize that when Rihanna found me, my 10,000 followers felt like a huge deal. I worked at a plant store and made like an hour,” she explains.
Cut to just three years later, and Sindhi is living in Los Angeles’s downtown Fashion District, working an office job five days per week, squeezing in casting sessions for brands like No Sesso, and DJing for Interscope’s holiday party in the little spare time that’s left. She may be rigging her car to start before the drive to get lunch (someone stole the battery), but she’s wearing Gaultier and Phlemuns, has a stable roof over her head, and is happily single.
Stolen car battery and all, Sindhi is full of gratitude for her current setup. And all thanks to her new status, Sindhi’s fun comes to her without cost from loose sponsorships and gifting. “A lot of weed companies give me weed. I’ve never paid for weed in my life, so a lot of times when I don’t smoke weed is just when it’s not around,” she says.
When it comes to her social media presence, Sindhi doesn’t mind the detractors or those who question why she has such a huge following in the first place.
“Instagram is a whole mess, but yes, it did change my life,” Sindhi says. “A lot of people have been like, ‘Oh you’re a wash, what did you even do after the Rihanna video?’ And I’m totally fine with people not knowing what I do or who I am or why I have so many Instagram followers. Don’t worry about it. I’m working, I’m making money, I’m staying cute, I’m minding my business. I’m working on myself, and on being a good person, and being happy.”END
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createdAt:Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:36:01 +0000
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